Employers cite the ability to work well with others as one of the most sought-after skills. Having Empathy – the ability to imagine how things look from another person’s perspective – is essential to being able to work with others (especially people we may not like). It lets us get past the emotion and discuss solutions or avoid conflict.
Despite this, a study presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science in Boston, suggests that empathy is in sharp decline, replaced by narcissistic and competitive traits.
Researchers say that the shift has been particularly noticeable since 2000, which they deduce is a probable consequence of growing up with violent video games and online networks. (While so-called “social” networks allow us to connect with a greater number of people, they also allow us to disconnect from the emotions of others. It’s easy to ignore someone’s feelings when they’re not in the same room.)
Does this mean that we are about to enter another “MADMEN” era? A time when Neanderthals roamed the boardroom and Dinosaurs ruled the earth?
Let’s hope not.